South Station was built in 1899 to consolidate four terminals that had been built by different south-side rail lines. By 1913, it was reportedly the busiest train station in the world, handling about 38 million passengers, ranking higher than its second nearest competitor, Boston’s North Station, which handled 29 million. In comparison, New York’s Grand Central Station handled 22 million that same year. Today, ridership is more than 95% commuters, but the total passenger count is close to what it was in 1913.
The Big Dig had a dramatic effect on this area. With the Rose Kennedy Greenway to the north and the Fort Point Channel and the Harborwalk to the south, it has become a lively pedestrian destination (though remarkably there is still no rail connection between South Station and North Station).